One of the hardest conversations to have: telling an aging loved one it’s time to stop driving
First of all, how do you know it’s time for them to stop driving?
Let’s take a look at some of the signs.
Take a few rides with them and observe their mannerisms and reaction times.
- Are they easily distracted while driving?
- Are they driving too fast or too slow?
- Are they cutting corners too sharp?
- Are they having difficulty changing lanes?
- Do you notice any new scrapes or dents on the vehicle?
These are some early signs that it may be time for your loved one to quit driving, but how do you tell your mom or dad they can no longer drive?
Yikes!! Here’s the hard part, right?
Just remember, they have been driving for a lifetime and giving it up means losing their independence. It doesn’t have to be so hard, just start out slowly and bring to their attention little details calmly and patiently.
I tell you to take a ride with them because you need to know the facts for yourself, don’t rely on what others tell you, they could be basing their remarks off of one circumstance.
Before you approach the subject, make sure you have an alternative plan. Research other transportation options and show them they can still get around town, to the doctor’s office, etc.
For more information about this, read our blog, Senior Transportation Options.
There are many delivery services now who will deliver groceries and medications. Maybe one of their neighbors would take them to run errands one day a week. Check into other options before approaching the subject.
Be sympathetic, after all, you’re asking them to give up a large part of their lifestyle. Approach the subject carefully and keep your emotions under control. Your loved one may be angry or act hostile toward you, but remain calm while speaking to them about giving up driving.
They are not going to agree with you the first time you have this conversation. You may have to speak to them several times, and suggest they take a driving test or have their vision checked. Perhaps if a professional tells them they are not able to drive any longer, they will be more apt to listen.
Remind them of the consequences that could happen if they continue to drive, but speak to them calmly. Remind them someone could get seriously hurt and maybe even die if they have an accident. Also, point out that they couldn’t handle the affects of a car accident either. It’s hard enough to recover from a fall; can you imagine a car accident?
Make sure you stay on track with the conversation, don’t go off on another topic, and stick to the point of them not driving. They may try to change the subject because it is something they don’t want to hear, but stick to the subject!
So, how do you tell your aging loved one is time to stop driving? Calmly and with patience, remember you are telling them they can no longer do the one thing that gives them the last bit of freedom they have.